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Clippinger Hall fire causes $200,000 in damages following alarm mix-up

A fire early Saturday morning left Clippinger Hall with an estimated $200,000 worth of damage, and Athens Fire officials said the extensive damage was due to a failed fire alarm.

At about 4:15 a.m. Saturday morning, a dehumidifier in room 206 of the building caught fire, but Athens Fire Capt. Ken Gilbraith said the fire was not detected immediately because there is no fire detector in the room.

“It’s an older building, and the alarm system is older,” Gilbraith said.

It wasn’t until passers-by smelled an odor of something burning that a call was put into the department, Gilbraith said.

But Joe Adams, Ohio University director of environmental health and safety, said in a statement the fire alarm in the building operated properly.

“The alarm did go off, and would have alerted the Athens Fire Department of the fire if no one had been there to report it,” Adams said.

The fire occurred in a classroom within the geology department, said OU media spokeswoman Katie Quaranta.

Athens Fire estimated the damage at $200,000, but Adams said the university did not yet have an official estimate of the damage.

“The university does not have an official damage estimate at this time,” Adams said. “We are in the process of assessing the value of the damaged equipment and determining the cost of refurbishing the room.”


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